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Over $2 billion in anti-dumping duties short-paid to U.S. Customs since 2001

August 18, 2016

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that about $2.3 billion in antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duties owed to the U.S. government were uncollected as of mid-May 2015, based on its analysis of AD/CV duty bills for goods entering the United States in fiscal years 2001-2014.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that it does not expect to collect most of that debt. The GAO found that most AD/CV duty assessments were paid and that unpaid bills represented 2.5 percent of the total.

The uncollected assessments were concentrated among a small number of importers, of which 20 accounted for about 50 percent of the $2.3 billion uncollected. CBP data show that most of those importers stopped importing before receiving their first AD/CV duty bill.

The main cause of the problem appears to be the U.S. AD/CV duty system, which involves the retrospective assessment of duties. Under this process the final amount of AD/CV duties an importer owes can significantly exceed the initial amount paid at the estimated duty rate when the goods entered the country.

CBP has undertaken efforts to improve its collection of AD/CV duties or to protect against the risk of unpaid final duty bills through bonding.

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